“Oh, here she goes again, painting those darn (cute) kids of hers again.” Yep, I can hear you!! The thing is, yes, I AM painting one of my gorgeous girls…again…yes, it is a Bubble painting …again….but I have a very, very good reason for it this time.
‘Sock it to Sarcoma’.
‘Sock it to Sarcoma’…the vision of a remarkable, courageous girl, named Abbie Basson, who was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at the tender age of 17. Throughout her short battle with this sinister disease, she had a dream to try to make a difference to other young people living with and fighting these rare and complicated cancers and to raise awareness and funds for sarcoma research in Western Australia.
Abbie wanted ‘odd socks’ to be the main identifier to the cause, as many people whose primary tumour is in their leg, will need their leg amputated, and therefore end up only needing one sock! Abbie envisioned that with the greater public awareness that the charity could bring, more people would understand sarcoma and help raise desperately needed funding into research…and therefore, ‘sock it to sarcoma’!
The funding figures are not good for AYA (Adolescent and Young adults) with cancer. Their age group is 15 to 25 years old. This age range has the lowest improvements in survival rates when diagnosed with cancer and primary bone cancer, which was Abbie’s diagnosis.. It’s one of the areas with the highest death rates…and sarcoma unfortunately, scarily, is found frequently in the pediatric and AYA group.
Sarcoma attracts less than 1% of cancer research dollars and because it is so rare (1% of adult malignancies and 20% of pediatric malignancies) and because AYA cancers make up just 1.7% of all cancers and sarcomas just 10% of these, very few clinical trials are made available to this age group. There are national moves to start addressing this issue and to how the AYA age group get treated once diagnosed…..but here in Western Australia, with the help of Abbie and her vision, there is a special AYA area being opened on the 2nd of May in the new WA Cancer Centre…http://wacancercentre.org.au/
and that’s where my painting comes into this story.
I was asked by a follower of my Facebook page, Jenny (who is a friend of Perth chef, Emmanuel Mollois who I painted last year – thank goodness for social media and the internet!)
if I would consider donating a painting to be hung in the new specialist treatment centre for the youth affected by sarcoma. ( Jenny is part of the Sock it to Sarcoma’ Action Team, and both she and Emmanuel do the …..’Ride to Conquer Cancer’, team ‘Sock it to Sarcoma’ each year.)
YES, YES! YES!!!!
My Goodness, I have a daughter aged 16 and a second daughter who will be this age within a blink of an eye… I cannot even fathom what a family, a mother, a father, must go through when something so horrific as cancer affects someone you love and cherish. Abbie, sadly lost her battle just two short years after her diagnosis – the battle still remains for her family and for the foundation that Abbie dreamt would help other young people in their fight.
It is an honour to paint this picture. It is a project that is both joyous and incredibly heart wrenching in the same breath.
My brief was to have something joyful, an image that would bring some light into the rooms where the teens will spend many hours sitting with their parents and carers, awaiting diagnosis, treatments, check ups and both good and bad news. Though the youth are still classed as children, they are often too old to be treated at the children’s hospital (16 years old is the cut off for Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital) The new specialist rooms will give them a place to go which is not as confronting as the adult hospital.
I have used Abbie’s sock theme and touches of teal and fuchsia, which are the colours of the foundation, in the final painting. I’ve made the sneakers more of a fuchsia colour and the socks have changed colours from the photograph I am using for my reference picture.
I was thrilled to capture this photo of my youngest daughter (I would have loved to get one of Bel, who is in the AYA age group, but I just couldn’t quite get the perfect one) hysterically laughing as her big sister blew bubbles towards her, whilst our fur child golden retriever sprung around trying to catch them. It took 2 photo sessions, a bottle of bubbles,and about 40 photos to capture this one perfect joyful moment! It met the brief; I was given the go ahead just late last week….and I have roughly 3 weeks to paint it…minus drying time and minus framing…
YIKES!! That leaves me about 2 weeks – with school holidays approaching fast! Dudie and the girls are on board, giving me space and a bigger help around the house and with meals…It’s going well.
I put in a 7 hour studio day yesterday. It was divine. The family were busy with homework and general weekend fun, but kept checking in every now and then for a peek. The girls are always fascinated with the painting process…Bon stares mesmerised at my busy brush work and Bel discusses various art concepts. I know they are sponging up this knowledge and it helps me feel better about the time I need away from the family to achieve this. I also know that I am teaching them a great lesson in giving back, giving thanks and helping out with our skills and talents where we can.
All the photos are works in progress…many adjustments are still to be made as it comes to completion . So watch this space for the finished canvas…or better still, check it out as I progress on my Facebook page. Here are also links to ‘Sock it to Sarcoma’:
Wishing you all some bubbly fun,